Friday, June 22, 2012

State Department’s Amazon Kindle plan won’t help dissidents. - Slate Magazine

Evgeny Morozov on Kindle diplomacy

“Well, the dissidents can start celebrating: Three years on, the U.S. State Department has finally announced an ambitious partnership with Amazon. (Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos and Hillary Clinton were supposed to appear at a joint press-conference Wednesday, but it has been postponed because of Clinton's schedule.) The program—which is slated to run over the next five years—would see the State Department spend up to $16.5 million to purchase a maximum of 35,000 Kindles as well as to pay for content (i.e., books) and delivery costs. A fully equipped Kindle costs about $200, so this leaves almost $10 million that can be spent on books—which, given Amazon's low prices, might easily mean 1 million units. Where would these Kindles go? The idea is to ship them to more than 800 designated libraries, public reading rooms, and cultural centers—frequented by more than 6 million young people per year—that the U.S. State Department supports around the globe.”

State Department’s Amazon Kindle plan won’t help dissidents. - Slate Magazine

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